The Southworks Robotics & Engineering Olympics


The 3rd annual Southworks Robotics and Engineering Olympics was hosted by South Suburban College last Saturday, April 13, and for the second year in a row the Hillcrest Team brought home a trophy.

Alonzo Arostegui flew our drone to a second place victory in the “TRANSPORTER” competition where each drone was required to pick up a ping-pong ball and deposit it in a large cup. This was widely considered the most exigent challenge of the entire Olympics, so it is no surprise that the precision maneuvering required to capture the ball while the drone was in flight ended up being quite difficult. Alonzo not only flew the drone, but he also took the lead role in the initial design phase where he determined that a mechanical capture and release system would be more efficient than a more complex servo-motor driven or remote controlled robotic arm.  Made from paper, paperclips and glue, the mechanical toggle system that we designed was what engineers would describe as “an elegant solution”  — simple, cheap, and effective — and earned us a nomination for the INNOVATION Award.

Steven Pachuca, Jr. drove our Vex robot to an easy win in our first round of the “TURNING POINT” competition, but we were eliminated during the second round in a close match with Rich East, the team that eventually took second place.

Buford Bostiste, our newest team member, competed in the “Autonomous Racer” event with an impressive time of 2.99 s. This was enough to put us in the top five in a very competitive field. For reference, our time of less than 3 seconds would have been enough to take second place in last years competition.